Overheard on CNN.com: Penn State head coach should have done more
Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno calls sex abuse allegations against ex-assistant coach Jerry Sandusky "shocking."
November 7th, 2011
02:01 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Penn State head coach should have done more

Comments of the morning:

"Sounds like Penn State and the Catholic Church have the same kind of cover-up talents." - CommDecker

"Please, if you saw this happen on the street you'd call 911. So because it happens at work, telling a supervisor is adequate?" - WatAnon

Penn State coach calls sexual abuse charges against colleague 'shocking'

2 Penn State officials tied to sex abuse case step down

A child sexual-abuse scandal swirling around the Pennsylvania State University football program had many CNN.com readers venting their shock that head coach Joe Paterno did not follow up after reporting a "locker-room incident" to university administrators in 2002. The "incident" was the alleged sexual assault of a 10-year old boy by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly.  Sandusky, who retired from coaching in 1999, maintains his innocence. Two university administrators are facing perjury charges connected to an alleged cover-up.

Just43242 said, "I can't believe that a 10-year-old boy was molested, and the coaches basically said, 'Just don't bring boys here again!' What a message. And Paterno didn't follow up?"

Guest said, "Yes, Paterno alerted the Penn State administration back in 2002. But, why didn't he follow up when it became clear the PSU administration was sitting on the allegations? Didn't he find it odd that Sandusky was never charged with a crime?"

OvrHyped said, "And it's very late 2011; how is it possible the authorities have taken almost five years? Lots of questions, too few answers."

guest1guest2 said, "Paterno's hands aren't clean. Regardless of what 'specifics' were left out when he heard about it, the words 'coach,' 'boy' and 'shower' warrant a little more than reporting the incident to administrators and going on with your life."

Sbul said, "I thought coaches, like teachers, are mandatory reporters - which means Paterno had an obligation to make sure that the proper authorities were contacted, not just university officials. Why is he off the hook for not making sure this incident was reported to law enforcement or child protective services?"

damnyankee20 said, "Sandusky had retired and was no longer part of the team. Paterno stated the witness didn't tell him the specifics but he knew something was amiss so he followed policy/procedure and immediately notified his superiors. It was his superiors' job to follow up and look into what occurred and if criminal, to notify the police."

Rachel2010 said, "If that makes Joe able to sleep at night, then good for him. This was a child. Paterno knew the man had contact with children. To not report it to the police shows an enormous lack in morals on his part. Period. No excuses."

Many CNN.com readers had harsh words for the eyewitness as well. CLEpost said, "The first thing wrong with this story is that the graduate assistant did nothing to stop the abuse. This is not going to end well for anyone, including Joe (Paterno). There is a difference between the 'responsibilties' of the parties involved here and their moral obligations."

gdouglaso said, "So an assistant sees someone sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy and does not try to stop it. He does report it to school officials though. It says two things: (1) the cowardly nature of the assistant, and (2) the inordinate power that college sports plays on campus that someone was in any way afraid of stopping or calling the police. ..."

Westernslope said, "There are no activities that are safe for kids. People have their eye on your children. Keep them really close. Seriously sad but reality."

Do you feel your views align with those of these commenters? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (230 Responses)
  1. Katherine

    For all of you non-Penn Staters who believe that our university is nothing more than football, and now, nothing more than horrible coaches and staff, let us not forget the thousands of students, faculty, and staff who are doing good things. Penn State is so much more than this scandal. As a student, I am proud to be a Nittany Lion, not because of our football team, but because of the education I have received. I believe in our faculty and staff who care about the welfare of their students. Athletics is only one part of Penn State. This awful situation does not reflect on the integrity of the entire university.

    November 8, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • teddy

      Katherine, your comments can also be applied to people's negative thoughts about the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts, too.

      It is sad that people just think of the bad that happens–And I blame the media for blowing things out of proportion and tarnishing the reputation of businesses and organizations that do, indeed, do more good than harm.

      These child abuse scandals are sickening and is more sickening that other adults knew about these things and did NOTHING to protect children.

      Not everyone that is at Penn State, is a priest or a Boy scout volunteer is a pedophile.

      Yet I wonder how many people that stopped going to church because of the scandals will stop attending football games?

      November 8, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • OvrHyped

      I too am a graduate (and you can see that CNN chose my comment to post in the article). I am saddened tor all that this sick man did, and the inaction of an elite few. The lynch mob is out for PSU blood and some of this is well-deserved, but this IS a case that the DA had and police investigated back in 1998 and THEY did nothing, there are parents that knew of what this man did and also did nothing (and if the police didn't follow-up then certainly the PRESS would have). The moral negligence is spread wide and thick. But the good work of so many should not go up in smoke for the evil acts of the few. Punish the guilty, heal the victims and limit the "collateral damage".

      November 8, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Al T

      I sympathize with Penn Staters but, unfortunately, Joe Paterno is the face of Penn State right or wrong. I'm just convinced the he knew of the '98 investigation by campus police on the first reported incident in the shower and it is no coincidence that Sandusky retires not long after. There's simply NO WAY he did not know about an incident like that involving his top assistant in that tight-knit town. So, when 2002 comes along and McQuery sees what he sees? Alarm bells should've gone off all over State College. It just sickens me that McQuery didn't do anything about it right then. It sickens me that he waits until the next day to tell Paterno. It sickens me that Paterno waits yet another day to tell the Curley. Jesus, what were these people thinking? It breaks my heart for this kid that somebody saw what was going on and he still ended up having to leave that building with Sandusky instead of being taken to safety. Who knows how much more abuse he suffered?

      There's simply no way any of the parties can justify, from McQuery on up, the simple fact that to this day, the authorites do not know the name of this child. None. For all those that say Paterno did what he was supposed to do as required by law, let me ask you a question. Was he supposed to wait a whole day to report it or should he have reported it the minute he heard about it? If you had heard about it on Saturday would you wait until Sunday to tell anyone? So, go ahead and tell me that he gave one ounce of consideration or compassion for that child. Spin that. Can't be done.

      November 8, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Jose

      Katherine, you completely miss the point. No one is blaming the entire Penn State community. However, people are calling out the top tier university administrators and football coaching staff, including Joe Paterno for failing to meet basic human obligations to protect children from pedophiles. Do you not understand? I thought a PSU degree would have helped you in the situation. Apparently being a PSU student has clouded your vision. Joe Paterno is going down in flames along with many other Penn State officials. Think about it, Joe Paterno tacitly aided and abetted pedophilia. Now that's an ugly place to be.

      November 8, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • John Rossi

      This could have happened anywhere- the shock is the level of cover up- simply unbelievable- Paterno is guilty of a huge moral crime and should step down today. Sandusky has committed amongst the worst of crimes- our species can be very sick- no???

      November 8, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. Horrified77

    Why didn't the grad asst. tackle Sandusky when he caught him raping that kid, and then call 911 immediately? And now he's an assistant coach with the team? Was his silence bought? If you see someone beating up another individual, do you just walk away and tell a supervisor in the morning? Sandusky is lucky a public school teacher didn't catch him - they're required by law to report any suspected abuse immediately to law enforcement and child protective services. Personally, I'd have beaten the snot out of the SOB and kept pounding away while I phoned state police. I don't care whose kid it was - nobody deserves that kind of abuse.

    November 8, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • OvrHyped

      And why didn't Sandusky's wife act? Was she clueless? 8 adopted kids and taking other children to bowl games? The police had this case early, and had a "soft" confession as they listened in to a conversation as a mother accused Sandusky! If he could fool her, fool them (or have pressure applied to stop the investigation) then the guilt falls on them. What about the Second Mile staff who "suspected" things – aren't they directly complicit? The rush to trash PSU is sickening, leave the students, the educators and all those who had NOTHING to do with this alone.

      November 8, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. jennyy

    This is not suprising,sports in general promote g@y activities.

    November 8, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • uglybugger

      Jenny, This has NOTHING to do with gayness, and EVERYTHING to do with pedophilia. Would Sandusky be somehow more "normal", less revolting, if his victims had been little girls instead of little boys?

      November 8, 2011 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • manhandler

      Your supreme ignorance is showing. Statistics show that the overwhelming majority of pedophiles are STRAIGHT men.

      November 8, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • John Rossi

      Jenny- wayyyy off base...

      November 8, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  4. Chris L

    Both Joe and the University President have to be gone TODAY. This is a disgrace and the more you read about it the more you get so angry and feel for those poor kids. How can they let a predator back on campus and bring little boys. I feel bad for those 6 kids he adopted. I prey they have not lived a nightmare life. Bottom line is that Joe had a moral obligation to call the police and also follo wup on the incident. No morals, values and ethics, No courage, conviiction or character, Joes legacy is ruined and tarnished. Joe and the President need to go.

    November 8, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • John Rossi

      Yes- TODAY-

      November 8, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • DisgustedinDenver

      Yes. Today.

      November 8, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. ghull

    It's time to recognize the culprit...college football. Shut it all down. Coaches now and forever have had a disregard for ethics. Paterno, Tressel, Carroll, Switzer, Kush, Hayes. A Collegiate Football Hall of Shame. An honest coach is just one that has yet to be caught. It's all about money, power, greed and nothing to do with education.

    November 8, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • roberta

      I accept it all except Hayes . Later investigation shows he probably had a blood sugar of about 45 . He hit a kid and left . He never covered up or accepted bad behavior

      November 8, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    Everybody calling for Paterno's blood need to remember this: that in everyone's rush to judgment, there are going to be collateral damage victims...not of the abuse, but of the backlash. Hey, Sandusky abused boys for years? Blame the school. Close it down.
    Hey, priest are molesting children? Abolish the RCC. Wait, there are other factions of faith that have done this? Outlaw religion. Some Boy Scout Leaders molested boys? Get rid of that organization. See how silly that is?
    Hold the people responsible, not the organization, and if someone IN the organization had a part in a cover-up, call them out on it, too. Painting whole organizations has pedophile cults is disingenuous.
    This is in no way a defense in what these sick men do; it's not. What they do is reprehensible.

    I'm just saying that to hold worthy organizations responsible for what a perverted few do is just plain *wrong*.

    November 8, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Clint

      Totally disagree! Paterno is the head coach and is ultimately responsible for the actions of his players and coaches. No excuses. He cannot pretend that he did what he could. HE DID NOT!!! If anything, he is more focused on saving his own skin than anything else. He knew it was happening and turned a blind eye. He should be fired immediately! What a hypocrite !

      November 8, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • paulm5545

      A mentioned in your first sentence, it is Paterno people are upset with (or "calling for Paterno's blood"). I haven't seen where everyone is calling for the end of Penn State or its football team, but like you said when you referred to the Catholic Church and the BSA, the primary violators and those that intentionally covered up the incidents or simply looked the other way need to be held accountable.

      November 8, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  7. Whome

    I'm sure that all you people who are putting the run on Joe Pa have turned your buddies in when they do drugs, smoking pot or whatever else might be against the law jump right in and report them, right? Joe did what was required, others dropped the ball.

    November 8, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Yeah smoking pot, molesting a boy in the shower. Same thing. IDIOT.

      November 8, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  8. Whome

    Clint your a fool.

    November 8, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. manhandler

    Even after the College knew, they still allowed him to bring boys onto satellite campuses? There is so much about this sick story....from the grad assistants' discovery to the length of time it took the authorities to actually do something about it. All of them should be greatly ashamed.

    November 8, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Whome

    Joe is not involved in law enforcement.

    November 8, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. jeanne

    wow...i'd stop calling them "men" in your articles...anyone and everyone that KNEW anthing to do with this should be FIRED today.....

    November 8, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. paulm5545

    Our priorities are so mixed up. When this story broke, Paterno would have been gone by now if Penn States football team was mediocre, but because it has a good team, Paterno is still there. Everyone said the same thing about Knight when he was throwing chairs across the court and slapping his players...hey, it's ok, cuz we have a winning team! Now, Paterno down plays what occurred, but it's ok...Penn State has a hell of a football team.

    November 8, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  13. Input

    If Paterno and Sundusky were longtime friends, I find it very hard to believe that Joe didn't have any idea of what was going on in the shower with this boy and others for that matter. The can is open....

    November 8, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  14. open400

    It sickens me what Sandusky is accused of doing, but it further sickens me for people to smear Paterno’s reputation on gossip, innuendo and hearsay. Please remember to not bear false witness against thy neighbor is a commandment from God, not a nice suggestion. It is stupid – possibly to the point of imbecility – to say the coach has 100% knowledge of 100% of his players and coaches 100% of the time! Paterno is the head of a football program,not a police state!
    The biggest problem that Penn State always had in recruiting is that perspective athletes did not want Joe Pa on their back all the time about obeying the rules and going to class. Michael Irving, that later played at Miami, visited Penn State and said Penn State was run like a military academy! Anybody that knows anything about Joe Pa knows the guys is 100% by the book and he has lost lots of recruits to other schools because most college athletes are in college ball looking to make it to the NFL. Paterno has always been a stickler about football players going to class. Paterno has a long history of disciplinarian action against football ball players, even before big games. Paterno is an employee of Penn State and he follows their rules to the letter

    November 8, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. Steve B.

    Yep, I'm still proud to say I'm a Penn State alum and had to voice my opinion as it's driving me insane. It's really easy for the media to drive the bus from the back seat and say everyone should have done more, everyone knew for years that Jerry Sandusky abused children and overlooked it. No one know's what was reported or said and everyone acted on what they believe was the correct information. Penn State is a huge campus and I doubt that Paterno knew Sandusky was there all the times these alleged acts were committed. If in 1999 the local law enforcement was investigating why wasn't the University apprised and questioned? There are tremendous gaps in the entire situation and pointing the fingers at one person or a group of people solves nothing except drive gossip and innuendo.

    Jerry Sandusky was revered for motivating young men on a football football, a community leader that developed a foundation to help needy children. Who would ever think that someone like that would have the dark side to abuse the children he helped? What's done is done, let's work on fixing the issues and let the court's judge and convict those involved. Let's be sad for the victims and pray that everyone can be healed and move forward.

    November 8, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
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